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Portrait of Faith

Manchester Camerata

Manchester Cathedral, 4 April 2012

This was a memorable experience, an opportunity to hear religious music in the kind of environment for which it was intended, the hallowed space of Manchester Cathedral.

The programme was varied, though Bach was prominent and rightly so: Cantata no.4 ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ related directly to the death of Christ, whilst Cantata no.82 ‘Ich Habe Genug’ expressed a serenity at the moment of death, resting upon a faith in Christ’s Resurrection.  A high point was the Chaconne in D minor from Partita no.2: the performance was breathtaking, compelling, decisive.  As one listened, one sensed it taking shape.

There then followed a brilliant orchestral performance of Arvo Part’s Summa, sacred twentieth century music surely written for the ages.  Works by John Tavener and Roderick Williams and Beethoven’s Elegischer Gesang made up the rest of the programme.

In the main and taken as a whole, the concert was contemplative in character, solemnly drawing the mind towards matters grave – above all, to a reflection on the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ – and things that ultimately matter.

It was a salutary experience, edifying yet also curiously exhilarating.

Details of Manchester Camerata’s next concert, Portrait Of Love, can be seen here.